Sunday, April 29, 2012

Initiative versus interest

My first book has opened a whole new galaxy to me. Among the various life lessons it has already taught me in this short time, the one that I enjoy the most is analysing human reactions and actions thrown my way.
And so all the warm to lukewarm and even cold responses from acquaintances, I use as fodder for my mind and soul.
One of my friends, who is helping me promote the book [http://www.dhruvpublishing.com/published.html], put up a post on his Facebook page requesting his mammoth network of friends (more than 5,000!) to share and like and possibly read and even buy my work. But after a couple of days when only four friends shared the info on their respective pages, the crusader posted another message reminding his FB friends what to do - 'Common share!' he urged them.
To that comment, an active FB user wrote, 'I don't know her. She (that's me) needs to take the initiative'.
I failed to understand what's the initiative I needed to take, when my info appeared on her homepage without her asking for the same.
Nevertheless, I send her a friend request. More than 24hours later she confirmed me as her FB friend.
She neither contacted me nor shared the book info. Initiative was not enough, I deduced. I decided to introduce myself to her in a private message, when a gentleman called me.
I was introduced to this person through my crusader friend again. This person had promised to have the book introduced on his radio show. Which he, indeed, had arranged efficiently.
The phone I received while I sat mulling on writing my bio-data to the FB user who needed me to initiate was that of this gentleman media professional. He wanted to know more about my work. I briefed him. A few days later he called yet again and wanted to have a book. He called a third time and wanted to meet me and get to know me better.
This is what I call interest. If you are interested there is no room for initiation. Interest is the fuel and ignition.
One radio listener who heard me speak traced me out on FB subscribing my page. I'm humbled by his act.
I have written to total strangers who are published authors. I hunt down their contact details to communicate. That's interest. Not initiative. I have walked up to nasty-looking mortals and requested for contact details of people in the publishing world. I've received numerous rejection emails from publishers than I could care to remember but that has not stopped me from mailing them again.
I've called up the secretary of a book store owner in Dubai more than 20 times in March alone to fix an appointment. Ultimately when she granted me one, and I eagerly presented myself at her office, I was told, "the owner is busy, why don't you leave a copy of your book." I returned only to pursue following up to get an audience with the owner all over again.
Interest makes me endure rough terrain and break that proverbial ice.
Techies will go any far and stand in winding queues to own that limited edition gadget.
Movie buffs will not miss the first show on the first day come hail or storm.
Wannabe models will unashamedly pursue the most demanding photographer in the field.
Crazy cooks will torture themselves in search of the store that exclusively sells that exquisite ingredient they don't even know how to pronounce.
It's interest that makes them do what they do. Period. They do not wait for the initiation ceremony or ribbon cutting to be welcomed into the field. They simply loiter, nudge, knock, push and if it still doesn't work, barge in. If they get thrown out with the same force, they help themselves up, and try again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You are the biggest fool, I'm told

A fushia Barbie bag, crispy uniform, new shoes and freshly-wrapped texts which were a source of infectious excitement for the last few days at home lost its sheen last night.
With the new academic session beginning today, I thought I had a situation on hand to diffuse for I almost believed my child was getting the blues the previous night.
I decided to give her some pep talk. So sat her beside me and began playing the mother hen to perfection. "It doesn't matter if all your friends are not in your class. You can still meet them during recess...we'll invite them home...this is life...you will have to shift schools, cities..."
The expression-less countenance of my daughter worried me, and I decided to change the topic totally. I started on Earth Hour assuming to getting her to speak up and then gradually tackling the school issue, when she said: "It is of no use. Street lights will be on. Metro stations, airports, shopping malls all such places will have light. Everybody will be watching TV now. Especially tonight, because it's the last day of holiday. They are fools. They should cut off power to save energy. Asking people to volunteer will not help.”
Ok, so whoever the 'they' are, my child was substantially updated. Grabbed my opportunity and said: "Wow! so you know all about Earth Hour. It's a shame that such a smart girl is sad about starting school tomorrow?"
"Yeah. I asked Papu. He explained it to me. And who told you I'm sad? I'm feeling bad. Not sad. As if we are all fools. If they have given us almost three weeks holiday, they could have given us one more day, isn't it? Why re-open on Fools Day?"

"Oh! that's just another day. Nothing great,"I said. 
"So Mother's Day, Teacher's Day, Children's Day, Women's Day are just other days? We make cards and wish people. Each day has a meaning.”
"Of course, yes. But this Fool's Day has no meaning. It's just a fun day, when you play pranks on others," I said.
"Playing prank is the activity of this day. That I know. But why is it called Fool's Day? If it's only about playing pranks then we can call it Fun Day. Why Fool's Day?"
Now I was getting into tough waters. "Well, that I don't know. I'll check and let you know. But am sure it has no significant history to its origin," I stressed.
"Have you made fools of friends?" When I replied in the affirmative she wanted to know how many times and when, where and whom all.
After I recalled a couple of instances when we really freaked out in college, and thought the topic was done with, she quipped: "You know what mama, you are the biggest fool I've ever seen in my life."
"How weird. For so many years you've celebrated this Fool's Day without knowing why you are doing it. Why didn't you ask your parents or teachers? My ma'am said, 'Copying is bad, but if you have to copy then at least use your brains. Copying without understanding is foolish’!"
PS: Meanwhile, let me Google.


I did the Googling today... check this link for why we celebrate April Fool's Day.... http://bit.ly/1kmbI0B
Holiday activity... Nail art

 You may want to know one other time when I had felt foolish...http://bit.ly/1kmaYsk